3D Printing News Briefs, July 23, 2022: Metal 3D Printer, 3D Printed Electric Violin, & More


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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, Kurtz Ersa is offering a new metal 3D printer, and SLM Solutions reported that a major European automotive OEM purchased two more of its SLM 3D printers. Visitech has acquired Keynote Photonics to form a new division. Additivology is a new web portal to help connect education, training, and workforce development for additive manufacturing. Finally, we’ll take a look at an ultralight, 3D printed electric violin.

Kurtz Ersa Offering Multi-Axis, Multi-Laser Metal 3D Printer

Kurtz Ersa’s Flying Ray has a build rate of up to 500 cm³/h

Germany-based Kurtz Ersa, which offers push-button metal 3D printers and electronics manufacturing equipment, has now added the multi-laser, multi-axis Flying Ray AM system to its portfolio. The printer uses laser beam powder bed fusion (PBF-LB) technology, and the standard Flying Ray makes it possible for 3D printing to happen in overlapping work areas, thanks to its eight arms—each with eight lasers and a swivel range of 45°. The company says the new metal printer has applications in the aerospace, automotive, research and education, and medical sectors, and is a good choice for small-batch 3D printing, building components, and tool and mold making as well.

Kurtz Ersa’s Flying Ray is said to offer a path speed up to 1 m/s, a build rate of up to 500 cm³/h, and position accuracy of +/- 25 μm. The system has a modular design, which means customers can specify the number of lasers they want, how strong the lasers should be (between 50-400 W), the desired overlap areas of the swivel arms, and the distance between, as well as number and length of, axes. Right now, the Flying Ray is able to process aluminum, stainless steel, and tool steel.

Major Automotive OEM Buys Two More SLM Solutions Systems

Metal additive manufacturing solutions provider SLM Solutions Group AG announced that a major European automotive OEM has purchased two more of its selective laser melting 3D printers. This brings the brand’s install base to more than ten SLM Solutions systems, including several SLM 280s and quad-laser SLM 500s. Over the next ten years, the global automotive market is expected to reach a volume of around 123 millions units, and much of this growth is driven by the move to EVs, which are a good application for additive manufacturing. SLM Solutions’ 3D printers have been used for automotive applications many times, including by this OEM, which uses its fleet of SLM systems to print a variety of metal parts for serial vehicle production.

“This latest sale is a testament to the quality of our systems and our commitment to making our partners realise their visions. The productivity and reliability of our systems and the innovation and support of our team make us the go-to with the world’s leading automotive OEMs. These are long-lasting relationships forged from trust and close collaboration as much as they are from metal and lasers,” said Sam O’Leary, CEO of SLM Solutions.

Visitech Americas Formed with Acquisition of Keynote Photonics

Visitech AS is a provider of high-end UV exposure subsystems that enable imaging solutions for AM, bioprinting, and direct imaging maskless lithography. The Norwegian company has acquired Texas-based Keynote Photonics, which manufactures industrial projectors and has also developed DLP industrial solutions for customers in 3D scanning metrology and medical solutions, as well as advanced display systems used in DNA analysis and Olympic ceremonies. With the acquisition, the company has announced the formation of Visitech Americas, which will act as a new subsidiary for sales, marketing, product services, and engineering to support the growing AM market in the United States and the Americas. Keynote’s staff and assets will be transitioning to new roles at Visitech Americas over the next several months.

“We are thrilled to become part of the Visitech team after working closely together for several years. The strengths of both organizations will accelerate our customers’ efforts to create production-class machines that will transform manufacturing worldwide in the years to come,” stated Keynote Photonics Founder Adam Kunzman. “In addition, proximity to our customers with a full complement of manufacturing, engineering, and logistics disciplines allows us to be nimble to the market’s needs.”

Additivology Connects AM Education, Training, Workforce Development

A new web portal called Additivology is a digital network that connects opportunities in education, training, and workforce development in the AM industry. A team of entrepreneurs designed the network, which works to connect students of 3D printing with industry professionals to grow the industry’s knowledge base. It also offers education, training, and workforce opportunities to students, and participating academic institutions can use Additivology to showcase their programs, courses, facilities, and degrees, while experienced professionals can join to continue refining their AM skills for career advancement. You can subscribe to the Additivology web portal for AM students and professionals here.

Additivology spokesperson Jeff Cianciola explained, “We have designed the Additivology portal to fill a void students experienced while identifying and understanding post-secondary educational institutions that offer programs in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. We work with schools, as well as students and industry professionals to create connections and opportunities that benefit the industry as a whole.”

3D Printed Karen Ultralight Electric Violin

Finally, while we often hear about 3D printed bespoke instruments, like guitars and trumpets, it’s not often that we see high-end, i.e. expensive, 3D printed instruments available in larger production runs. That’s changed with the commercial availability of the new Karen Ultralight 3D printed electric violin from Katahashi Instruments. The Japanese company designed all the traditional parts of the violin, while Barcelona design company ANIMA Design took care of the rest, using computational design systems to make the ergonomic instrument as lightweight as possible.

The elegant violin’s body was 3D printed using HP’s MJF technology and recyclable nylon material, while the neck is made of maple wood with birch fingerboard, covered with a black carbon fiber finish, and jujube for the tuning pegs and chin rest. There’s also a 1/4″ jack to connect the instrument to an amp, a preamp powered by a 9v battery, an active/passive switch, a headphone output, and a few tone control knobs. The 3D printed Karen Ultralight electric violin retails for about €1,850, comes with a case, shoulder rest, composite bow, rosin and 9V battery, and comes in four colors: Black Piano, Pearl White, Dark Platinum, and Red Copper, seen above.

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